Iceland,  Lifestyle,  Thoughts,  TravelTips

7 Things to Do When You REALLY Miss a Place – Homesickness Cures

I am an expert place-misser and I know many of you can relate! You go around the world and leave your heart in so many places, with many people, and then go back to where you live and just sort of slump around for awhile in those periods of heavy homesickness. And hey, homesickness isn’t just for your hometown. Travelers, wanderers and expats all know that the concept of home is a tad bit more complicated than that. Without a doubt, I believe it can be in another place where you leave your heart and it hurts not to be there sometimes… especially when you’re fresh from a trip to that place.

So, I want to share with you some examples of things you can do to feel closer to the place you miss, whether that’s your hometown, a place you used to live, or any other special place in the world that you love. These tried-and-true things always make me feel closer to that place!

Most often, I use the example of Iceland to illustrate these as it is my most recent place I had missed – especially after being there in November and mourning the fact that I was not still breathing the fresh air and drinking the sulfuric water. (and yes, I like that kind of thing)


1. Listen to the Music of the Place  – Especially Radio!

Surround yourself with albums and mixes of local music of the place you miss! I also like to watch videos of live performances and listen to Icelandic radio stations. there are loads of radio apps you can install with hundreds of channels – find your favorite station! I am (still) a big believer in radio, live curated music, and the interaction and community between the curator and the listener. You are much more connected with the humanity of a place in live time than you are listening to music fed to you by an algorithm. Give it a go!


2. Frame a Print or Photo

Consider getting a large print made of a favorite photo you took or framing and hanging a special print you bought at your favorite place. This will make you feel all warm and fuzzy whenever you turn and look at it and, naturally, would be a great conversation piece. (Full disclosure: there is a beautiful and massive black-and-white print of Iceland hanging in my living room and I adore it)

I also recommend buying a calendar filled with photos that spark something inside of you and hang it in a heavily-trafficked area of your home, such as your kitchen.


3. Cook a Typical Dish

Aside from music and sound, food is an excellent way to experience a special place. Think of the food you miss the most and instead of moping around about it because you can’t go to the store and buy it or have a family member make it, try your hand at making it! I had such amazing rugbraud (dark icelandic rye bread) on my recent trip – it was so sweet, rich, and cake-like and blew my mind because I never knew rye bread could taste that good! I easily found a recipe and baked it up, even if it took eight hours in the oven! (the sugars had to sort of caramelize) It turned out really amazingly, tasting almost the same as the bread I love there (which is baked underground with hot geothermal steam! be still my heart). You could also take it once step further and throw a themed dinner party or potluck specifically inspired by that place!

4. Enjoy Special Drinks

Islay whisky from Scotland, birch and moss tea from Iceland, espresso from Italy …. do you see what I’m getting at? Every place has got its characteristic drink! I hoard my Icelandic tea and save it for those special times. Side bar: I even reinfuse the tea bag on some occasions even though Alex thinks this is ridiculous, but those herbs be strong, yo. They could stand for another infusion.

5. Have a Movie Night

There is almost nothing like film to take you directly to a place. Once always takes me right to Grafton Street, Dublin. Wings of Desire takes me to Germany’s capital, wistful views from the Siegesäule, and imagining walking around Kochstrasse with Peter Falk. I imagine Akumulátor 1 could take you flying across the Vltava in Prague. I’ve tweeted out short reviews of my #icelandicfilmseries from a few years ago you could check out. (photo via)

What movie brings you right to another place?

6. Adopt a Habit

Another way to really bring you to the culture of another place is to adopt a local habit or tradition and implement this into your life. I really admire the pool/bathing culture of iceland, and when I get wishy-washy for a dip in Reykjavik’s Sundhollin, I go visit my local city pool and sauna complex – it’s better than nothing! Listening to the radio in the kitchen is something else I admired that our Icelandic host family did there that I tried to implement more often.

If you miss the European Christmas atmosphere that time of year, you can always whip up some Glühwein (ask a German for their family’s recipe!) and bake some Lebkuchen at home, or go out to a Christmas market-type event in your town. Take an Amtrak train just for the novelty instead of driving or taking a bus.

7. Became a Literary Expert

Perhaps second to movies is immersing yourself in literature of that place! You may have read the heavy hitters (such as Independent People, by Nobel prize-winning 20th century author Halldór Laxness), but have you read some of his other books? So many places have such a rich literary tradition that you’d be totally missing out by not discovering some popular titles, both old and new – even fiction set in that place brings me there! It is a whole new way to open your heart and mind to your favorite place.

I also love buying or somehow obtaining a newspaper of that place and sitting for an hour or two with a nice hot mug of tea (see #4).

Sometimes it’s a burden on your heart to know and love so many places. These things make it a little easier, so I hope it helps, as well as perhaps opening that place up to yourself in a way it wasn’t before.

If you’ve left a piece of your soul in a place, how do you stay close to it? would you try any of these ideas?